Be The Outcast: Solidifying Health & Wellness Resolutions
January 15, 2023 // Fitness
New Year’s was just a few weeks ago.
Resolutions are still being upheld by most, but unfortunately that will change soon (statistics point to March as the benchmark if a resolution is sustainable/realistic).
In the health and wellness space, we [professionals] double as magicians in January, accurately predicting which gym-goers will fizzle out before the flowers bloom in the Spring. It’s pretty easy to spot using this simple criteria:
- Someone obsessed with reaching a certain target/goal
- Someone doing intense workouts too frequently
That’s it. That’s the tell. As soon as we see someone coming full throttle into the gym, busting their tail off endlessly to inch closer to their goal with little to no coasting workouts, it’s almost a done deal that their honest pursuit will dwindle away by the end of Q1. Not for a lack of effort, and not because the workouts are ineffective, but just the opposite: TOO MUCH. Slow down, my friend. Play the long game.
First off, most people gravitate to workouts that are outside of their current capacities and capabilities, which already sets them up for failure through mental defeat, injury and/or lack of energy recovery.
Coupled with workouts that are too advanced (and grossly excessive for any goal), many focus solely on the outcome(s) without recognizing nor appreciating their new healthy habit(s). If your “motivation” and success is tied exclusively to the number on the scale or the physique changes in the mirror, we likely won’t see you in April.
This is because, at first, the fitness thing is kind of interesting. New space, new routine, feel-good hormones floating around, a sense of achievement. Even the workouts are a bit – dare I say – fun?! Who needs motivation when you are off to a great start. The sky is the limit (just you wait…).
Then, around mid-February, your body has had a chance to accommodate to your workouts, so maybe the scale doesn’t go as planned. And at the same time, the gym starts to get repetitive. It’s starts to feel a bit mundane. And those feel-good hormones aren’t as powerful as last month.
This is where the grind begins. This is where the mind is more challenged, as you now have less incentive than last month, even though you’ve been on a roll. The mind will now need to overcome the discomfort of being consistent even when it’s not fun anymore. And for most, this is where the mental negotiations begin, and what was a laser-focused pursuit now becomes a bit more of a compromise.
The mental is what undermines the physical, so that’s why it’s so important to design a routine that plans for the “I don’t feel like it” moments and still gets you up and going.
Celebrate the Consistency
Aiming for a specific target or outcome is great, as long as you appreciate and celebrate your consistency of your efforts. Reflect upon how regular you have been with your workouts, and be proud of your recent commitment(s) to exercise.
Remember that all roads lead back to exercise.
Every doctor, every medical study, anything health related is going to strongly suggest a regular exercise routine. From weight management to emotional health, from risk of disease to risk of death, from the fountain of youth to the natural high, exercise is one of the cornerstones of being healthy.
So if we all know that exercise will be a part of our lives until the very end, and that committing to a regular routine is likely a good thing, then the smartest approach is to find a way to make exercise sustainable for you. Be proud of your regular participation in the process, not just the effect(s) that occur in time.
Toggle the Intensity
Within exercise, especially resistance training, high intensity MVC (maximum voluntary contraction) is the backbone of signaling an internal response. You have to work your weights hard enough (at least 85% of your maximum) to get the true effect(s). However, this type of energy-depleting intensity must be paired with plenty of low-intensity bouts of cardio and mobility. You’ll know your routine is sustainable when you are recovering at a faster rate than when you started, instead of the opposite, which is what happens to most when they go too intense too frequently. If you’re feeling sluggish and fighting through aches and soreness, scale back to sustain forward progress.
Make An Adjustment
Finally, have a pivot plan.
If not A then B.
If not B then C.
A pivot plan can be as simple as “I barely slept last night, and I’m at half-strength, so better to work on low-intense cardio and shift the workouts by one day for the rest of the week when I can be more productive”.
There will always be restless nights, unexpected disruptions, last minute plans, important events and a plethora of reasons to negotiate within yourself to take today off from your exercise routine.
But just as a boss does not want to hear about problems without suggestions for solutions, make a pivot plan within your own head the very moment when life disrupts your original plan.
The best part of a pivot plan is that it will help you regain control of what you CAN do, instead of permission to miss the opportunity to keep consistent.
Celebrate consistency. Toggle the intensity. Make a pivot plan.
This is how you overcome the impeeding exercise abandonment associated with New Year’s Resolutions.
If you feel you need help managing your health and wellness routines, feel free to reach out to schedule a discovery chat. Hope to see you all consistent into this spring!